African countries are classified as developing nations, meaning the continent has tremendous investment potential that needs to be tapped. In this episode, we look into two of the most underrated investment sectors in Africa: education technology (Ed Tech) and property technology (Prop Tech).
This week’s guest is Ijeoma Ejimadu, an MBA student at Columbia Business School who is the founder of Ivery Arie, an NGO that provides African women with the mentorship, resources, and education they need to thrive as entrepreneurs.
Ijeoma Ejimadu was inspired to start the non-profit after seeing her mother struggle with her business while working in Nigeria. The organization’s main aim is to empower women through mentorship, education, and funding. The best way to empower women is by giving them money to fund their businesses.
Ed Tech: investing in the future
The education technology (ed-tech) The education sector is one of the most overlooked when it comes to investment.
“One of the things that a lot of people don’t realize is that funding education is literally funding your future. It is you trying to groom the folks now for the future when people retire or jobs change.”Ijeoma Ejimadu
Education is overlooked because it is a long-term investment, and most investors want their money back soon. But how we measure success in education is different from how success is measured in fintech.
Investment in the education sector received a significant boost in 2019 with the launch of Andela. This African unicorn trains software engineers and sources their talents from international firms that need the skills.
The education budget for a lot of African countries has, however, declined over the past five years, which signifies a big problem. Parents are opting to send their kids to western countries to ensure they get the best education, contributing to the brain drain the continent is experiencing. It is hard to sell educational programs to the government due to factors such as limited budgets and corruption.
Innovations in the education sector are helping boost the literary skills in most African countries, and sub-Saharan Africa has limited access to the internet, so companies are coming up with hardware that can be plugged into phones and contain educational material without requiring internet access.
“It is also promising that the middle class is growing. This means that they have more income to spend on educational support technology that they can use to improve their educational outcomes.” added Ijeoma Ejimadu
Prop Tech: ready for disruption
Property technology (prop-tech) is any technology we need to solve real estate problems, i.e., renting, purchasing, residential, and collaborative economies.
“The reason why prop-tech is becoming a little more popular is that real estate is ripe for disruption.”Ijeoma Ejimadu
The buying process is hectic, and technology can help make some of these processes more manageable. Proptech in Africa is almost nonexistent, especially in rural parts of the continent. In most African urban areas, residents are required to pay a year’s rent upfront, which can be stressful, especially if their income is unstable. A company called Split is trying to find ways to resolve the payment crisis by providing a more flexible rental payment option in urban cities.
In conclusion, the education and property sectors in Africa are ripe for investment and disruption. With the right investments in education technology, the future workforce can be better prepared, contributing to the continent’s economic growth.
To learn more about the potential of Ed Tech and Prop Tech in Africa, just go to the Emerging Markets Today podcast here.
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